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23/04/2007

Now there's a thought

I was talking with a friend this weekend, one of the few people who know my secret identity. ‘Why’, my friend asked me, ‘don’t you have more about criminal law and practice on the blog?’

‘More?’, I said, ‘I have nothing about Criminal on there’. ‘Exactly’, said my friend.

This set me thinking. Admittedly, the first thoughts were ‘I know nothing about Criminal beyond the GDL and LPC’, closely followed by ‘start your own blog then’. But I like to think I am not necessarily a creature of instinct, so I thought some more.

It has to be said that there are some very good uk criminal based blogs out there, most notably Ex-Lex, Diary of a Criminal Solicitor (silent since January) and Legal Beagle (now diversifying into civil lit.). But, like a large part of this site, these are personal, anecdotal blogs. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that.

But, for me, three things have come together.

Firstly, as I have mentioned before, my search records and access log show that there is a need for blogs that deal with substantive law (however unlikely it is that said blog will end up hosted by the Times). Plus I am a bit bored with doing the anecdotal stuff.

Secondly, the recent and ongoing situation makes it clear that legal aid lawyers, whether criminal or civil, are in a similar leaky boat and that things will continue to change, rapidly. I think we have a lot in common in this, but if nothing else, we are united in our fury with the LSC.

Thirdly that, although some areas, notably IP and employment, have blogs that deal with changes in the law or in process, the Legal Aid sector as whole doesn’t have anything like that, relying instead on websites with a varying rate of updates.

So, my tentative proposal is this: a blog slash resource for the Legal Aid sector; carrying updates and comments on case law and statute; commentary (and of course gossip) on the sector and the developing issues facing it; practice experience and hints, and anything else relevant for the broad sector or a practice area.

It would, of course, have sub-categories: criminal, housing, immigration, family, welfare, community care, education, mental health etc. (listed here in no particular order), each with its own RSS feed.

In order to work, this would mean contributors/posters from across the sector. I’m happy to handle the tech admin if there is no one better able to (and I’ll start the housing law side if need be), Of course, it would be under a new domain name, not this one. But would anyone else be interested? It will take time to build up, but could be useful from the start.

I’m well aware that time is an issue for everyone, but anyone interested in participating can leave a comment on this post – your email will not be made public – or email me at contact (at) nearlylegal.co.uk. Anonymity and discretion assured.

I should say that at the moment I envisage contributers as being principally practitioners rather than law students, simply because my first idea is for a practice based site.

So, anyone? Or am I simply years ahead of the times?

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

3 Comments

  1. Free Movement

    Yep, would be interested in covering the immigration angle. Very interesting idea.

    Reply
  2. Eleanor Wright

    I agree this would be a good idea. I would be happy to contribute on education law issues.

    Reply
  3. contact

    Thanks both. Planning is underway.

    Reply

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